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ASSAf Elects New President

The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) elected Prof Jonathan Jansen as its new President for the next four years. He succeeds Prof Daya Reddy. New Office-bearers were also elected. They are Professors Brenda Wingfield and Barney Pityana who were elected Vice-Presidents, Prof Himla Soodyall as General Secretary and Prof Eugene Cloete who was elected Treasurer.
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ASSAf Recognises Top SA Scientist with Gold Medal
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) recognised a top South African scientist at its prestigious Annual Awards Ceremony held in Pretoria on 12 October 2016. ASSAf annually awards the ASSAf Science-for-Society Gold Medal for outstanding achievement in scientific thinking to the benefit of society. This year the award was presented to Professor Brian van Wilgen of Stellenbosch University (SU).
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Poverty Reduction in Africa Investigated
Representatives of 22 African science academies met from 6 – 9 November 2016 to deliberate on poverty reduction on the continent.
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New Members Inaugurated
The Academy of Science of South Africa inaugurated 38 leading scientists as new Members at its annual Awards Ceremony on 12 October 2016, increasing the total Membership to over 500.
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SAJS awarded DOAJ Seal for high-quality open access journals
The South African Journal of Science was awarded the DOAJ Seal – a mark of certification granted by the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) to open access journals that achieve a high level of openness and adhere to best practice and high publishing standards – on 11 November 2016.
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Annual Young Scientist Conference
Human rights came under scrutiny at the 7th Annual Young Scientists’ Conference on 6 and 7 October 2016 at the Birchwood Hotel and OR Tambo Conference Centre.
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ASSAf Calls for Summit on Education Crisis
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) have called for an urgent high-level summit to address the current crisis in higher education.
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ASSAf elected to the InterAcademy Partnership for Health Executive Committee
The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) for Health General Assembly and meeting held in Beijing, China on 29 September 2016, elected the following Executive Committee.
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ASSAf partners with Akademie
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) partnered with the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns to co-host two education-related academic colloquia in Pretoria on 11 November 2016.
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Multimorbidity under the spotlight
The burden of multimorbidity was highlighted at an ASSAf workshop in November. Throughout the world, populations are ageing, and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are rising and infectious diseases (IDs) continue to affect millions of people every year. Multimorbidity presents a substantial international challenge in the near future.
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Pan African Parliament passes resolution on Science Academies
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) made a resolution on science academies on 18 October 2016 in Egypt when it was agreed that PAP was aware that science can play a crucial role in the life and welfare of the African people and future generations.
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Brand New OPCW Initiative Builds Bridges between Scientific and Policymaking Worlds
Scientific diplomacy took a front seat during the first session of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) workshop on Policy and Diplomacy for Scientists, held as a regional meeting for African scientists in Pretoria, South Africa from 18 – 20 October.
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Poisoned Pasts: Lessons from South Africa’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme for Responsible Science
Delegates to a capacity building workshop on chemical weapons jointly hosted by ASSAf had an opportunity to see a unique new exhibition aimed at honouring victims of South Africa’s chemical and biological warfare programme.
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TWAS meeting held in Kigali
The 27th General Meeting of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) was held in Kigali, Rwanda from 14 to17 November 2016. Dr Thomas Auf der Heyde of the Department of Science and Technology represented Minister Naledi Pandor in the Ministerial Session on Innovation for Sustainability.
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Major Report on South Africa’s Technical Readiness for the Shale Gas Industry Released
A major report on what needs to be done to ensure that South Africa is technically ready to support a shale gas industry in the Karoo in South Africa was released on 12 October 2016.
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Regulatory Control of New Genetic Engineering Technologies Scrutinised
A consultative workshop on the Regulatory Implications of New Genetic Engineering Technologies was held on 11 October 2016 to inform a consensus study of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
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Academy increases number of women members
In 2017, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) will select a total of 16 top women scientists and scholars for membership in two extra election rounds.
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Taking African Science to the World: Knowledge Exchange Visit to UK for SA Women in Science
From 24-28 October 2016, five young female researchers attended a Best Practice in Science Communication study tour in the United Kingdom, as part of the British Council’s Professional Development and Engagement (PDE) programme, under the Newton Fund.
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A Call to Action to Improve the Reproducibility of Biomedical Research
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) is one of 46 member academies from the IAP for Health that pledged to push for better research reproducibility through a statement released in September.
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New Era Dawns for African Marine Sciences
A new era of structured cooperation to sustainably manage and protect coastal and marine resources in Africa was heralded by the recent launch of the Forum on African Marine Sciences (FAMS).
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Putting “Open” into action
ASSAf demonstrated how Open Access can be put into action during the Open Access week from 24 – 30 October 2016. ASSAf presented papers and workshops and actively encouraged high-quality Open Access scholarly journals to apply for listing in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
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Support for Zimbabwean Science Investigated
Scientists in the Zimbabwean diaspora with the state of science in that country at heart met with South African and Zimbabwean national academies to explore avenues of intervention and support for the Zimbabwean science community.
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ASSAf Members in the News
The diversity of its Membership, embracing the full disciplinary spectrum, enables ASSAf to focus on issues of a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral nature and to bring the strengths of a fully inclusive approach to bear on the issues of national and international concern. These Members achieve is their individual fields.
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In Memorium – Prof André van der Walt
André van der Walt was a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Public Law and incumbent of the South African Research Chair in Property Law at Stellenbosch University (SU).
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In Memorium – Prof Thomas Hamilton Bothwell
Thomas Hamilton Bothwell, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, ASSAf Member and an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand passed away on 12 November 2016.
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The South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) elected new executive committee members at its sixth Annual General Meeting held on 12 to 13 October, 2016. The new EXCO team will serve for a one-year period..
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SAJS welcomes new Associate Editors
The South African Journal of Science has appointed two new Associate Editors: Prof Sally Archibald (Organismal Biology) and Prof Maryna Steyn (Archaeology, Anthropology and Palaeontology).
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LIASA Librarian of the Year Announced
ASSAf’s SciELO Planning Manager, Ina Smith was the co-recipient of LIASA Librarian of the Year Award
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The Science for Society Newsletter is published quarterly by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf).
PO Box 72135, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria, South Africa, 0040.
1st Floor Block A, The Woods, 41 De Havilland Crescent, Persequor Park, Meiring  Naudé Road, Lynnwood 0020, Pretoria, South Africa.
Tel: +27 12 349 6600 Fax: +27 12 349 5461  
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Editor: Patricia Scholtz

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